Homes near hospitals show healthy returns

By on February 1, 2017

WHEN you feel that crushing pain in the chest, every minute counts as the ambulance races you to a doctor. Heart attack is the nation’s top killer and more Australians are paying the price for too little exercise and too much food with cardiovascular disease. Heart attacks strike young and old, rich and poor but one thing is certain – the quicker your trip to hospital the better your chances.

THE growing trend for buyers to target homes near top-notch state schools has hit the news lately but there’s another key resource that house-hunters would be wise to make their near-neighbour – a hospital.

Living close to a major hospital – and the right type of hospital – can mean the difference between life and death.

Brisbane man Damian Ryan, 57, was shaking a can of paint on the back deck of his Chermside house eight years ago when his back started to hurt and breathing became a struggle.

He was having a heart attack – a big one, aged just 49. But Damian was also lucky. The northern suburbs house that he and his wife had bought 20 years earlier was just a five-minute drive from Prince Charles, which boasts an emergency room and is the top cardiac hospital in Queensland.

“I’m only alive today because I live less than 2km from a major hospital, which just happens to have the best heart doctors, nurses and equipment in the state.”

When you have an attack, a blockage starves the heart of blood and therefore oxygen. The longer the blockage lasts, the more heart tissue is killed.

“If my house were 35 minutes away rather than five minutes, I’d be six feet under and not at home with my wife and kids,” Mr Ryan, who has now retired from the ATO, said.

Exterior image of Prince Charles hospital in Brisbane in daylight

ELITE: The Prince Charles Hospital at Chermside, Brisbane, is the premier cardiac hospital in Queensland.

Heart specialist Professor Leonard Kritharides said in a Heart Foundation publication in 2015 that the death rate from cardiovascular disease had fallen in Australia since the 1970s but, crucially, that “hospitalisations for heart failure have risen steadily for men and women over the past 10 years”.

That means increasingly sedentary living, poor diet, and worsening obesity are damaging more Australians’ hearts but advancements in treatment at hospitals are helping to keep more of them alive.

Other benefits to buying near a big hospital

  • Hospitals are huge and consistent employers, and attract support industries, which means jobs and therefore demand for housing. Demand supports property prices.
  • If you’re in the same electricity area as a hospital you are less likely to lose power in a blackout as they are given priority supply.

High on the list

Mr Ryan now has a pacemaker and electric pump attached to his heart and is on the transplant list.

“It was a fluke that we bought near Prince Charles but knowing what I know now, living near to people and gear that can save your life would be a priority. I was only 49 – you just never know.”

UPDATE: Mr Ryan has received a new heart and is recovering well.

About Nick Moore

Nick Moore is the editor of He also edits the printed Great Wait. Nick started as a journalist in 1993 and has worked for Fairfax, News Corp and APN.